Tag Archives: steampunk

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…



Since my mini writing retreat last weekend, I have not had any time to immerse myself in the revisions for The Twesome Loop, until last night. I took advantage of a couple of hours of peace & quiet in the library prior to my writing meeting. Word count increased by 892 and a couple of scenes were ‘fleshed out’ (actually erotic scenes so literally – pardon the pun!)

Twesome Loop 002

I have a meeting with my client whose book I am ghost writing this evening as I requested ‘personal experience’ pieces from her on several topics within the book. These I will include thus ensuring it is her voice.

My book cover proof is still pending for The Rython Kingdom so I have to be patient – although having the new cover available for my readers is paramount. So excited for it to go ‘live’ on the various websites.


Through a facebook page I found a submissions requirement where I can send my steampunk story – The Toymaker. Fingers crossed it gets accepted, it’s only 7790 words.


I am thoroughly enjoying this book – The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney – sister’s growing up, finding themselves, drama, love, rejection and a mystery. Set in Tasmania and Ireland it becomes international as each sister flies the coop in search of her path.


My TBR pile includes a book I found in a lovely bookstore while on my weekend escape. The Other Life by Ellen Meister This is the blurb:

If you could return to the road not taken…would you?

Quinn Braverman has a perfect life, with a loving husband, an adorable son, and another baby on the way.

Quinn also has an ominous secret: she knows that another version of her life exists…one in which she made totally different life choices. But she’s never been tempted to switch lives-until a shocking turn of events pushes her to cross over, and she discovers the one person she thought she’d lost forever: Her mother.

But Quinn can’t have both lives. Soon, she must decide which she really wants-the one she has…or the other life…

The Other Life

Doesn’t it sound fascinating? Of course as I love reincarnation, spirits, afterlife and parallel universes it is just up my street, so to speak.

If you have a recommendation for this kind of story, please let me know.

Writing Tips:

Stop procrastinating. Turn off the TV, disconnect from the Internet, tune out the rest of the world, sit down, and write.

Create a space in your home especially for writing.

Why not share your writing space? Here’s mine:

new writing desk

The opposite wall is my inspirational wall.Inspire wall

Happy writing.



CORVIDAE BLOG TOUR – Rhonda Parrish…

As part of a blog tour, I am interviewing the authors and the editor/anthologist involved in the project anthology, Corvidae. Published through World Weaver Press. This will post as I am on vacation….Today I launch with the Pulbisher: Rhonda Parrish.


A flock of shiny stories!

Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.


See additional document in the PRESS KIT folder.


Edited by Rhonda Parrish

“Introduction” by Rhonda Parrish

“A Murder of Crows” by Jane Yolen

“Whistles and Trills” by Kat Otis

“The Valravn” by Megan Fennell

“A Mischief of Seven” by Leslie Van Zwol

“Visiting Hours” by Michael S. Pack

“The Rookery of Sainte-Mère-Église” by Tim Deal

“The Cruelest Team Will Win” by Mike Allen

“What Is Owed” by C.S.E. Cooney

“Raven No More” by Adria Laycraft

“The Tell-Tale Heart of Existence” by Michael M. Rader

“Sanctuary” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

“Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds (Scarecrow Remix)” by Sara Puls

“Flying the Coop” by M.L.D. Curelas

“Postcards from the Abyss” by Jane Yolen

“Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird” by Mark Rapacz

“Seven for a Secret” by Megan Engelhardt

“Flight” by Angela Slatter



Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries


Trade Paperback:

ISBN-13: 978-0692430217

ISBN-10: 0692430210

Official page:


Rhonda parrish

Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for nearly eight years now (which is like forever in internet time) and is the editor of several anthologies including Fae and B is for Broken. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been in dozens of publications like Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012) and Mythic Delirium. Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Sharing stories. I really like creating characters and scenarios and worlds and then sharing them with other people. It’s even better when the people I’m sharing with enjoy the story as much as I did and tell me so–I am not without an ego LOL

What do you enjoy most about editing?

I love coming up with a theme and then seeing all the amazing ways writers explore that theme. They always, always, always come up with things I never would have ever dreamed of. I also really enjoy working with writers to help make their amazing stories even stronger. It’s incredibly fulfilling to have someone trust you with their work and walk away feeling as though you not only justified that trust, but helped them make the story better. I will never get tired of that.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Um. No. I don’t think so.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished At the Water’s Edge: A Novel by Sara Gruen which was well-written and kept me up late turning the pages, and began reading The Toyminator by Robert Rankin. The Toyminator is the sequel to The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse which I really liked so I have high expectations for it J

Do you see writing as a career? 

Absolutely. Writing and editing both, actually. Happily for me they work very well together and each feeds the other. What I mean is being an editor has definitely improved my writing, and being a writer has helped me as an editor. Win/win. If only I could turn off my inner editor while I’m writing first drafts…

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

Mostly I drink, and not what you’re thinking either LOL While I’m happy to indulge in an alcoholic drink or three sometimes in the evening I never drink alcohol when I’m writing. I don’t have a moral objection to it or anything, mostly the timelines don’t line up. Alcohol is an ‘in the evening’ thing and writing is a ‘during the day’ thing. However, when I’m writing there’s usually a Diet Dr. Pepper within reach or, if my focus has been especially lacking, sometimes a Red Bull.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Probably right here… though hopefully with a few more titles on my ego shelf LOL I don’t know if I’ll still be editing Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries anthology series ten years from now (though you never know LOL) but I’d definitely still like to be both writing and editing. Bonus marks for myself if I’ve got a couple/few novels out as well J

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

The first draft. Seriously. Oftentimes I get so twisted up in my own head that I become paralyzed and don’t write anything. It’s a serious problem. I’ve found tools for working around it and my strategy is basically ‘Do whatever you need to to get the words on the page’ but still… first drafts kick my butt every time.

What is your favorite book?

My favourite books (this week) are The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman but there are so many beautifully-written books and stories out there.

Why an anthology about corvids?

I’ve always loved corvids, their intelligence, beauty, playfulness… Once upon a time I wanted to write a single author collection of corvid stories but as time went on and I realised how many other people shared my love of all things corvidae I thought it would be even cooler to make an anthology.

Why scarecrows?

Scarecrows go with corvids like butter goes with popcorn. How could I not have a companion anthology to go with the corvidae? Besides, I’ve got a great deal of love for scarecrows–they hit exactly the right spot on the uncanny spectrum for me.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My next title in this anthology series is going to be Sirens (opening to submissions August 15th). Like the other anthologies in this series it will be speculative fiction, probably leaning closer to fantasy than science fiction given the subject matter, but you never know…

CORVIDAE, praise

“Smart and dark like the corvids themselves, this excellent collection of stories and poems will bring you a murder of chills, a tiding of intrigue, a band of the fantastic, and—most of all—an unkindness of sleepy mornings after you’ve stayed up too late reading it!”

— Karen Dudley, author of Kraken Bake

“Magic and corvids collide in this certain to intrigue anthology.”

— Joshua Klein, hacker and inventor of the crow vending machine

“A creepy, crazy kaleidoscope of corvids, Corvidae is what happens when you bring together ingenious writers and sagacious subjects. It’s nothing short of a thrill ride when this anthology takes flight.”

— Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D., Utah State University; behaviorworks.org.

“As sparkling and varied as a corvid’s hoard of treasures, Corvidae is by turns playful and somber, menacing and mischievous. From fairy tale to steampunk adventure, from field of war to scene of crime, these magical birds will take you to places beyond your wildest imaginings.”

— Jennifer Crow, poet and corvid-by-marriage

Corvidae evokes the majesty and mischief of corvid mythologies worldwide—and beyond our world—in a collection that is fresh and thoroughly enjoyable.”

— Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger


“Delightfully refreshing! I should have known that editor Parrish (who also edits the cutting edge horror zine, Niteblade) would want to offer something quite unique. I found it difficult to stop reading as one story ended and another began – all fantastic work by gifted writers. Not for the faint of heart, by any means.”

— Marge Simon, multiple Bram Stoker® winner

“Stories of magical beings and the humans they encounter will enthrall and enlighten the reader about both the mundane and the otherworldly. I devoured it.”

— Kate Wolford, editor of Beyond the Glass Slipper, editor and publisher of Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine

“Seventeen tales… range in feel from horror to upbeat tales about homes where things go right, and are set everywhere from the modern day to mythical fantasy pasts. The best of these stories evoke things from real life – loves and values – and show characters making hard choices that reveal who they are and what they’re made of.”

— Tangent

“There’s no Disney-esque flutter and glitter to be found here — but there are chills and thrills aplenty.”

— Mike Allen, author of Unseaming and editor of Clockwork Phoenix

Authors to look out for are:

Laura VanArendonk, Angela Slatter, Mark Rapacz, Michael M. Rader, Sara Puls, Kat Otis, Adria Laycraft, L.D. Curelas, Megan Engelhardt, Tim Deal, C.S.E. Cooney, Mike Allen, Michael S. Pack, Jane Yolen, Megan Fennell, Leslie Van Zwol, Scott Burtness, Kristina Wojtaszek.

An Interview with Craig Boyack…


What inspired you to write your first book?

I started writing in the 1980s, but gave it up for family and fun. Then I got bored one winter, at 48 years of age, plus I had technology that surpassed anything in the 1980s. This one is a trunk novel today. It was a western steampunk story with ice age mammals running around.

My newest book is called Will O’ the Wisp. It’s the story of a teenage girl coming face to face with an ancient family curse.


How did you come up with the title?

Will O’ the Wisp is a natural phenomenon, that has become a cryptid. It is a mysterious floating light. People all over the world made up legends about them, so I did too.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

My first two novels are trunk novels that nobody will ever see. I have five books available on Amazon.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I can firmly answer no. I read to escape, and believe there are others out there like me. My stories are pure entertainment.

How much of the book is realistic?

The story takes place in the 1970s, and I went to great lengths to make sure it was an accurate reflection. (Anyone remember Quisp cereal, Montgomery Wards, International Harvester?) my main character, Patty, is fifteen. She has a love/hate relationship with her mother. She also has to face a few teenage coming of age moments. That part is realistic.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

They are not. I created the characters and tried to really get into them.


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I’m sure every author would. I believe there is a time to stop picking at it and set it free. I’m very happy with this story, and the reviewers appear to be too.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

This story is suitable for young adults. Not all of my tales are, but your own teenagers can enjoy this one too.


What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I’m really happy with the climax in this one. It stitched together some supernatural elements with a coming of age moment and a big dose of fear. It just worked out really well.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

I write speculative fiction, and don’t limit myself to one corner. My stories are science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. Will O’ the Wisp is a paranormal story.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

We never really think about it, but if a topic doesn’t interest me I won’t force a story. There are too many things that do interest me to worry about it.

Wild Concept

What book are you reading now?

As I type this, I’m between books. I have Beginning of a Hero, by Charles Yallowitz up next on my iPad. I may start it by the time this posts. I just finished Maplecroft by Cheri Priest.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Yes, and I’m loathe to name names. If I forget someone, I’ll hurt someone’s feelings. These are all indie authors, and I’m really cheering for them.

Do you see writing as a career?

In some kind of dream world, sure. The realities of the 21st Century are that I have a full time job. An FTJ with paid vacation, insurance, and retirement.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully, continuing to do the things I love. At 64 I expect to still be working, and putting out books.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

There is a huge learning curve here. I learn and adapt, just like anyone else. It’s part of what appeals to me about writing. Perfection cannot be attained, only improvement.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

No. I like everything I’ve ever written. I’m a better writer today than I once was, but I still like my characters and stories.

What book do you wish you had written?

Jurassic Park.

What is your best marketing tip?

I wish I had one. Marketing is just so foreign to me. I think the best thing I can do is to write my next book. There is stability in volume, provided the product is good.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My next book is another paranormal piece with science fiction spicing. It’s about social media gone horribly wrong.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I released Will O’ the Wisp yesterday, (as I’m typing this out). I’d rather focus on that. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written so far. I’d really appreciate it if your readers would check it out.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

Follow my blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

Check out my novels here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Virgilante

On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Will O’ the Wisp can be found at these sites:

Northern American Continent http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

Rest of the world http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

Thank you for the invitation, Mandy. It was a pleasure answering your questions. I’ll make sure to surf back through and participate in the comments.

Interview with Mandi M. Lynch…

Please say hello to Mandi, a prolific writer of short stories, who has a multitude of work linked all over the place! Hence today’s word – Nexus – definition 1) connection, link; a causal link 2) a connected group or series 3) center, focus.

Mandi M Lynch

a.Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? I did a steampunk story where the main character worked for the King and was part of the Underground (a secret movement against him). There was just something about her and her high-button boots that made me really like her. b.Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one? Generally, I write some type of fantasy or science fiction, but I’ve been known to write just about everything. c.What do you enjoy most about writing? Being able to deal with my problems, on my own time, with my preferred outcome. Somebody makes you mad? Write them into a story and kill them. Having body issues? Write about a character with the same issue and see where that character’s life takes them. In love with somebody? Write a love story. You get the idea. d.Have you got a favorite place to write? Wherever I’m productive at the moment. It goes in waves. For a while, it was curled up in bed with my laptop, but now I can’t seem to be productive anywhere that isn’t somewhat formally set up – desk, dinner table, etc. e.Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer? A little of both. I tend to write timelines – A happens, X happens, birthdays, major events, etc. I want to know the order of the important stuff, but let the journey take us there however it wants to. f.What inspires your stories? Everything. My mood, something I saw on television, dreams, photographs, offhanded comments, other people (my favorite project ever involves getting strangers to send me story prompts on postcards), whatever. Sometimes I just hit the keys of my laptop until fhjasdaqkw actually turns into real words and something happens. g.What are you currently reading? Um… I run a book review blog, so my TBR/currently reading pile is usually about ten books high. Right now I’m in the middle of Eric Wilson’s novella Amelia’s Last Secret, AJ Scudiere’s latest novel, Phoenix, Janine K Spendlove’s 2nd book in her Seasons trillogy (War of the Seasons: The Half Blood), and books about both Tolkien and Roald Dahl’s war time service. h.Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories? I have a lump on my ass from when I fell on a Lego house at the age of 11. You mean like that, or something different? Honestly, my childhood was pretty boring by Kid Standards. I learned to read at the age of four and never took my nose out of books. i.Do you have any pets? I have three cats – DC, Brynn and Alix – and two fish – Cheech and Chong, who I am proud to say have been in my house and haven’t been eaten yet. Not sure how long that will last with an open tank and three felines, but we’ll see. Alix is helping me do this interview, actually, by way of climbing up my leg, purring, and stepping on my toes. I think he’s walked half a mile around me already. Apparently, I don’t love him enough and he’s starved for attention. j.Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one? menu-nanowrimo I was ML for my local region of NaNoWriMo for five years, and one of the things that I did was have a weekly write-in that went year-round. Two years after somebody else took over, it’s still going strong, and we’re up to eight core people – seven of my best friends and myself – and a few others that come and go. I call it therapy, and can’t imagine life without it. Sometimes we even get writing done. k.What age did you start writing stories/poems? Er. Somewhere I have little books that I made in elementary school (or earlier… I may have been four when I did the first one), fiddled with it in high school, but didn’t really get serious about it until I was in my 20s. l.Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it? I generally write short stories, so there are several places that I can push you towards. First of all, check Amazon (of course I’m on Amazon) for Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells – the story I have in there is one of my favorites (the prompt was magic vs machine with a steampunk twist). Clockwork You can also look for anything done through Ink Monkey Mag – we’re about to release issue 5 of the magazine as well as a couple new anthologies (Blink! and 1000 Words) but You Don’t Say is already out, and it’s pretty unique because the stories in there are all in 2nd person, which you don’t see very often. (All will be out by Easter, so stick ‘em in those Easter Baskets right next to the Cadbury Eggs) retro-monkey-shock[1] You can also find me in several of Pill Hill Press’s anthologies – they do story a day fiction and horror fiction anthos and I’m also in their ePocalypse and Roboterotica anthos. If you want a freebie or two, google my name and I’ll pop up on sites like Underground New York, Daily Love, and Weird Year. m.If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why? I’m going to cop out here and name two. One is Roald Dahl. My favorite book ever written is Matilda, and I had read it so often at one point that I could get to chapter three or four before I couldn’t recite any further. Unfortunately, he’s dead, so unless y’all have a TARDIS I can borrow, I won’t be meeting him any time soon. The other is Neil Gaiman. He’s incredible. Everything he does is successful, and my favorite episode of television ever – The Doctor’s Wife – was all his doing (Doctor Who episode 6.4). There is nothing that’s not awesome about him. n.If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be? I’m a Sagittarius, so I’m pretty flighty, but I also need to be grounded, so I’d be pretty comfortable staying here in Nashville if I could travel somewhere once a year (and I don’t mean to a con or back home). The Isle of Man; Nunavut, Canada; Egypt; and Italy (They’re hosting the next world’s fair!) are on my list. I’d also like to do a tour of world religious sites. o.What’s your favorite movie of all time? …A couple years ago I would have said Wizard of Oz or Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (the first one, not that crap that they did a few years ago), but there are so many movies coming out now, that I don’t think I could say. My tastes are pretty varied, so I’ve loved everything from Avengers and Thor to Amelie and Hugo. I’m a fan of 70s/80s comedies, too, so it’s not uncommon to catch me watching Uncle Buck; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; Smokey and the Bandit; Stroker Ace… Hmmm. Maybe I should give a list of movies I don’t like? p.Where can readers find you and your blog? Blog?! I’m supposed to have a blog? Um. I have a book review blog that I run with four of my friends, and you can find that at http://bookinthebag.blogspot.com – you can find book reviews, author interviews and occationally random bonus content. Aside from that, you can find me and Ink Monkey Mag both on facebook. Book in a Bag q.Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? I am about to hit a deadline on a utopian story for an antho, so I’ll be working on that this week and rushing to get it out. I also have a couple projects that need edits/rewrites/whatever – one is a mid-grades novel (think early chapter book) about a kid named Ashley who has to get a message that King Saliman (may he lie peaceful beneath the stone) has died to his son, who is all the way across the kingdom, and the other is a novelette/novella about a woman trying to figure out who she is after her mother dies. r.Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? Um. My grandmother was, but she died a few years ago (cancer is stupid – why can’t cancer get cancer and die), so it’s hard to say. I’d probably have to go with my group of aforementioned friends. It’s cool to be sitting at a table, announce some random bit of progress (chapter four, I killed a dude, 1667 words…) and have a table full of people cheer.